Disney reported yesterday that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness earned around $187 million in its domestic debut — a whopping $102 million jump from Doctor Strange’s domestic debut of $85 million in 2016 and $449 million worldwide. Disney and Marvel sold this as more than just a Doctor Strange sequel, bringing at buzzy multiverse cameos, promising Disney+’s WandaVision, parlaying the goodwill from Spider-Man: No Way Home, and presenting Sam Raimi’s flick as the first mythology episode since Avengers: Endgame three years ago. Doctor Strange 2 is a troll-ish repudiation of obsessive fandom and online discourse intended at those who seemingly care about the connective tissue and Easter Eggs, along with those who are invested in these fictional characters.
Michael Waldron, the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness screenwriter, revealed that the Illuminati death scenes shocked director Sam Raimi. Although the multiverse has been seen previously in the MCU in projects like December’s wildly successful Spider-Man: No Way Home and Loki, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness shifts the concept to an entirely new level. The film sees Doctor Strange face off against Wanda, aka Scarlet Witch, after she embarks on a deadly, universe-hopping quest to meet her two children by any means necessary.
The subject of many rumors ahead of the film’s release, Marvel’s Illuminati make their long-awaited MCU debut through the film when America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) and Strange travel to Earth-838. The group consists of Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo, Lashana Lynch as Captain Marvel, John Krasinski as Reed Richards, Anson Mount as Black Bolt, Hayley Atwell as Captain Carter, and Patrick Stewart as Professor X. Fans barely have time to digest the fun cameos, however, before Scarlet Witch arrives and dispatches each and every member of the Illuminati in startling, gory fashion.
The Illuminati make their first live-action appearance in Doctor Strange 2, but will they return to the MCU anytime soon? Formed in the comics just after the Kree-Skrull War, the gang originally comprised Tony Stark/Iron Man, Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, Professor X/Charles Xavier, Namor: The Sub-Mariner, Black Bolt, and Doctor Strange. Since their introduction in the comics, the roster has changed significantly, with members dipping in and out of the organization, including Captain America, Medusa, Hulk, Black Panther, and Beast, amongst others.
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The gang confronts Doctor Strange from Earth 616, where it is revealed that Doctor Strange had been corrupted and had become a villain (who was executed by Black Bolt). It is the first time that Doctor Strange is apprised of the group, as he has yet to join The Illuminati, let alone know of its existence.
After the events of Doctor Strange, it’s entirely possible that Strange could be the one to set the foundation of The Illuminati on Earth 616, now that he is aware of its existence and sees the capability of a group like that could do for his world. It is also possible that Krasinski’s Reed Richards, now in the MCU, will appear to Strange to recruit him. The same could be said of Professor X, who is yet to appear on Earth 616 but will make his appearance sooner rather than later. The possibilities are endless regarding how The Illuminati can be formed on the MCU’s Earth 616.
Just as there are various possibilities for how The Illuminati are formed, there are multiple possibilities as to who would join. Doctor Strange is a go-to for the group, as is Professor X and Reed Richards, as their presence would be consistent with where the MCU is in its timeline on Earth 616. Black Bolt is firmly established, so he is also a strong possibility. It is also likely that female members will be added, which opens up the chance for powerful members like Captain Marvel or Shuri, who is rumored to feature in the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Ultimately, with widespread hype around the introduction of The Illuminati in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and events within the MCU ever-expanding, it is entirely possible and very likely that an Earth 616 version of The Illuminati would be formed, hopefully, sooner than later, which will help find the way forward in the ever-expanding MCU.